Van Malone admits he’s not always fired up when a potential transfer calls, such as when former Kansas cornerback Tyler Patmon expressed interest in playing his final season of eligibility at Oklahoma State.
“You never want to get somebody else’s trash,” the Cowboy cornerbacks coach said. “You never want to get a guy who’s disgruntled and who’s just running away from discipline. But that clearly, with (Patmon), is not the case.
“From the point that we met him, it’s been a positive experience.”
Patmon, who was a three-year starter for the Jayhawks, left the program after the 2012 season when it became clear he was not meshing well with new coach Charlie Weis and his staff. Still, Patmon was on track to graduate from KU in the spring, meaning he could transfer and play right away.
He didn’t need to go far to find his new school, visiting OSU during the spring and discovering it was a good fit. This fall, he’s expected to challenge for the starting spot opposite senior Justin Gilbert.
“That happens sometimes, ‘I’m not clicking with this staff. Let me explore our options,’” Malone said. “It worked out for us in terms of having an experienced guy who’s played in this league, who’s a good kid.
“It kind of worked out perfectly for both parties.”
Patmon tallied 142 tackles (11.5 for loss), 22 pass breakups and six interceptions during what could be categorized as an up-and-down career at KU. But his Big 12 experience — he has matched up against Justin Blackmon and Ryan Broyles and several other of the league’s best receivers in recent years — is a clear asset to a cornerback group that returns just four scholarship players in Gilbert and sophomores Kevin Peterson, Ashton Lampkin and Miketavius Jones. Malone said he is even already looking for Patmon to become a vocal leader of the group.
“Has he been an All-Big 12 guy? No,” Malone said. “Well, we’re kind of not looking for that. We need some depth.”
Still, the Cowboys will also need help from its group of incoming freshmen at the position. Malone highlighted that Jerel Morrow, a four-star “athlete” prospect, already physically looks the part, while Darius Curry and Taylor Lewis will also get an early look in camp.
And Malone said he’ll quickly determine who can contribute right away.
“We’re going to push them in fall camp, just like we did with Kevin and Ashton,” Malone said. “With the cornerback position, especially when you’re doing it the way we’re doing it — we’re aggressive and we’re pressing and we’re playing man-to-man — those guys can go down (with an injury) just like that. You’ve got to know what you’re putting in there.
“Fall camp is going to be important for all three of those guys, because we’re going to make a decision really quickly as to who can go out and help and who we’re possibly going to be looking to redshirt. All three of those guys are right at the line, as far as I’m concerned.”